Sunday, 13 April 2008

If you knew then what you know now...

A topic came up over lunch the other day which I think sums up quite well just how low morale is among medical students and junior doctors at the moment.

The question was: knowing what you know now, would you apply to medical school again? The answer from 3 out of 4 of us was a fairly firm no, surprisingly I was the only one who probably would apply again albeit to completely different medical schools.

I opened this topic up to a wider audience and was pleased to see that not everyone had lost faith in medicine. It was also interesting to note that among those who would apply again, many would have applied to different places for a variety of reasons.

So...

Whatever stage you're at, be it 1st year student or consultant (not that any consultants are likely to be reading this), if you were applying to university today, knowing what you know now, would you choose medicine again?

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes most definitely would. However I think my views of medicine being what i thought it would be 4 years ago would be a lot more realistic now, (hope that makes sense)

Ms-Ellisa said...

Yes...

It's hard but I would much rather be "it" (aka student/ doctor etc etc) rather than anything else.

Anonymous said...

As a nurse, I most definitely would have worked harder at my A levels & gone to Medical school...

Anonymous said...

Me too. I'm a third year and would definitely apply to medicine again. I'm already hoping that I'd be lucky enough to be a medic again in my next life. That's why I'm collecting good karma now so I can fulfill my wish. Nothing better than being a true medic.

izzy said...

Yes, as a 4th year, I'm pretty sure I would. It's a tough one though, I've thought about switching to somethingelse many a time-physiotherapy or midwifery are my usual ideas!

Hospital Wallpaper said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Hospital Wallpaper said...

As a Fifth year, this is a difficult question. I still really want to be a doctor, but I'm not sure if I want to train under the current conditions. But at the same time there isn't anything else that I want to do as much as I want to be a doctor. So I guess medical school it still is. And I live in the hope that doing the job I want to do, makes up for everything else.

Lily said...

I'm convinced I'd still apply to do medicine. I just hope I'll still feel the same way a few years after I've graduated.

Anonymous said...

Hell no! medicine sucks!!!
TLM how about doing a blog on our options of how to get out but not having wasted 5 years of our lives? someone told me i could be an astronaut (i looked, im tempted)

You should never have gone to a different uni, u would have never met me!!!

your clinical partner!!!

Nick said...

I'm a fourth year, most definately would not apply again. Asked the other 5 lads in my house, only 1 said he would apply again!

The Manchester Medic said...

Undoubtedly yes, I would apply to do medicine again. Not sure if I would get in though as it seems more competitive than ever these days.

Believe it or not, I actually love the subject and can't really imagine doing anything else. I live in hope that by the time I qualify, they will have at least partly sorted out the current problems.

However, I would probably apply to a different medical school to do my clinical years.

Anna said...

As a fellow final year, I can say firmly that yes, I would do it again.

I like the person I've become doing medicine. I think doing anything else with the last five years would have made me into something else, and I don't I want to be someone other than the confident, skilled person I am.

(Did you believe that? Do you think the examiners will too?!)

Anna said...

Ooops, forgot to say - seems most of my year wish they'd trained as dentists. Better pay, better hours, no crap from MMC and the NHS.

Anonymous said...

I'm a 5th year medic...so almost at the end now!

I'm not sure that I still want to be a doctor. But yes, I would apply to medical school again if I could back time. Not matter what I choose to do, I would say it's been an interesting experience at the very least. And I would MOST DEFINITELY choose another medical school!!!!!

Polly said...

As a year 2 grad med student I would apply again. Might change WHERE I apply to, but overall (despite my whinging) I'm pretty happy....

the little medic said...

Thanks for all the comments guys. It seems from the comments that the majority of medical students would certainly apply again to medicine. I wonder if the same can be said for junior doctors.

One thing that seems to be quite clear is that given the opportunity to apply again, many would choose a different medical school. Very interesting.

Murk said...

Probably, though I kinda did know what was going on when I applied (MTAS and MMC etc) since I'm only just finishing my first year now. Still, I did have medical research as a goal when I started and that played a part in my choice of medical schools. Having got into my first choice I can safely say that I'm enjoying it so far. As for becoming an actual clinician, I'm yet to be convinced that I want to stay in this country.

Anonymous said...

as an F2, i would definitely apply again....still loving it! (oddly enough, much more than med school)

Liana said...

Hmm... I'm in my last 10 weeks of residency and was about to post something like this on my blog. Short answer, yes.

Lollipop xx said...

I'm a third year, and a PBL third year at that. I'd apply again, and I'd stick with my medical school. I have my down days, but overall I love what I do and where I do it. L xx

Martin said...

Im a first year medic at Oxford, and personally I wouldnt trade my experiences for the world. I would do it all again given the chance in a heartbeat. Yes its tough, yes it can be brutally depressing at times, but still there are some things Ive learnt, some things Ive experienced which make it all worthwhile.

PhD scientist said...

Speaking as an old fart non- medic-but-teaches-med-students these last 20-odd yrs, plus married to long-serving battle-scarred NHS hosp doctor, I'm pleased to see you aren't all envisaging jumping overboard, or regretting your choice. I find the idealism of the first yr med students I teach quite touching, if that doesn't sounds too condescending, and I always hope it doesn't get squashed out of people by either training or worries about the future.

One general comment - a thing that you perceive differently as you get older is just how LONG a working career is. Five years obviously feels like a long time at Uni to many here who are either in the middle of it or just past it, but by the time you are 30, say, it will seem like distant history. And being qualified (say as a GP) at 30... leaves 30+ years of working life. So I wouldn't worry about "years invested". Even with all the grim headlines about junior doctor training, who knows what it will be like in 2-3 yrs - or 5-6 yrs.

Re. bailing out, there are many options for those that choose to, though some (e.g. law conversion) might prefer you after FY1/2 and possibly a little bit more. Doing some kind of MRes degree in-course or post-course might also be a path to other things, i.e. research, Drug Biz regulatory affairs and so on. The world is your oyster, really. Another of those perspective things - at present you might feel you're already too many years in to change course, but it really isn't true. Even for a completely unrelated career, a 5 yr medical degree will count for more than a 3 yr degree. And you can always so another postgrad diploma in something else, debts permitting.

Talking of medics changing course, an interesting game you can play is "spot the medic who doesn't do medicine". Harry Hill is one well-known example. As a film buff my favourite version of this is spotting ex-doctors in the movie credits. Did anyone see the movie of "Master and Comander"? Did you know the screenwriter (scriptwriter ) used to be a doctor? Probably the most famous "movie ex-doctor" is the bloke who directed the Mad Max films.

Finally, interested by the number of people who feel they might have chose a different med school... dare I suggest a touch of "Grass is Greener Syndrome" at work?

sporefominghuman.. said...

yes.. definitely..

HM said...

7 months into med school and I'm sure I made the right decision.

5 Years seems like a long time though, and perhaps by the end it will be one of those things you'd only do once.

Still, I look at some of my non-medic friends and am so grateful to still be at uni!

Calavera said...

Hmm. This is a difficult question.

I suppose yes, I would, simply because I like the patient contact so much. However, looking at the way the medical profession is going at the moment, my hopes for the future are quite low. MTAS was a catastrophic disaster, the 48hour week that the EUWTD is looking to install will do nothing but skim money off my paycheque despite still putting the hours in, and the way the training system is looking - I can't imagine ever being competent enough to even become an ST let alone a consultant, simply because I won't have hours of experience and I won't have seen thousands of patients that the doctors in the generation before me would have seen.

I don't think I've been that clear about what I wanted to express. Please try and make sense of my jumbled notes, somehow.

danmushman said...

as a final year, i'm totally disillusioned. would i reapply? almost certainly not. Just feels a bit too deep to not at least finish the course and see how I feel after the foundation years.

Junior DocSpot said...

As an ST1, I know that I would always apply to medicine as at 18, I believed this is what I wanted.

However, now 27, I feel that I have made a mistake. One that I am not sure that I can rectify.

JD

PhD scientist said...

JuniorDocSpot:

Was having a read of your blog. Can I offer some unsolicited advice?

First, a Q: is that "mistake doing medicine" or "mistake ending up doing my current training job in my current speciality and current hospital (and possibly even current country)?"

Speaking, admittedly, from a quite different job, it is very hard to decide if it is really the former (overall choice of career) that is the problem when your life is always awash w. the problems of the latter (current job). This is why the standard advice is always to consider something like moving location. Whatever setting is doing your head in, it is not a given that all depts/hospitals/trusts are the same.

And in a general way, 27 really really isn't old, or "too late to change", even to re-train in something completely and utterly unrelated. And smaller side-steps are surprisingly easy. Like I said above, if you wanted to re-train as a lawyer doing medico-legal from having been an O&G Reg then I would think plenty of law firms would be, erm, more than interested in sponsoring you through a course and employing you afterwards. Probably a good idea to finish the college exams first, though.

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting to read the comments of the 1st year medics. Honestly, I don't think you can judge the course till you're at least in your 3rd-4th year. Once I started clinicals, it was like I was in a completely different course, a whole different world from what my pre-clinical days were like.

PhD scientist said...

JuniorDocSpot:

Bit more pottering on your blog suggests you have probably heard all of what I just wrote already from your colleagues. Sorry. All those years as a lecturer make it hard to restrain oneself from handing out advice.! Best of luck deciding on a path, anyway.

Junior DocSpot said...

Thanks for the advice.

I think it is probably a location / department issue at present. At least I hope it is.

My deep down plan is to give it another 12 months (I change hospitals in August). Originally I thought I would quit if I failed my exam, but fate had other ideas... ;)

JD

J said...

as a 5th year about to sit finals, I think i would still apply again. Although I think the NHS is being progressively screwed by the government, I still enjoy medicine and I still maintain the hope that I'll find a job that I enjoy at the end of it, whether it be here in the UK or down under.

Open Source Doc said...

I'm a MS1 and it's hard for me to say. I am a younger applicant, and maybe if I had to redo it again, I would have applied a bit later, just to spend my youth not in the confines of a library.

Kat said...

No. Thank god I've nearly finished. Now I just have to find something bearable to do with my life.
I would recommend anyone applying to avoid Sheffield medical school, by the way.